Buckle Up for the Budget
Posted by PKSD Law Firm on Oct 06, 2008 in Car Accidents
Click it or ticket! This time Wisconsin law makers may mean it. The state of Wisconsin could be given up to $20 million by the federal government for changing its seat belt law by July 1st allowing officers to stop vehicles when they suspect drivers arent wearing seat belts.
Under current Wisconsin law, officers can issue tickets for not wearing seat belts only during traffic stops for other traffic offenses.
Why the sudden push for the change? (Other than the obvious)
This issue has been on the minds of legislators in the past, but never before has the state faced a budget crunch like the one expected in 2009. A 2006 University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute report estimated that the change would save $220 million a year in accident-related costs. With spending expected to exceed tax collections by more than $800 million, the change in law could cover approximately 25% of the deficit.
According to State Patrol Maj. Donald Lonsdorf, Wisconsin ranks in the bottom states in seat belt usage. One state survey found that 74% of Wisconsinites buckle up, 8% lower than the national average.
Failing to buckle up was the states second most common traffic violation in 2007 with 67,695 convictions. The most common was intermediate speeding (11-19 mph over the speed limit).
-Attorney Howard Sicula